It’s the ideal redemption for any news-media company — make a mistake, own up to it, and get more attention for the correction than the mistake, some of it positive and constructive attention. Then, acknowledge the attention and draw the focus back to how you remedy mistakes rather than the hubris-laced lie of “we’ll never make that mistake again.”
TBD.com has been clear from the beginning that mistakes would be made, giving their online nature, staffing structure and drive to be first with the most. But the site was equally clear that corrections would be posted, and not in a forgotten corner of the site, but on the item where the mistake occurred; not on the bottom of hundreds of words and, maybe, endless comments and ads, but at the top, for all to see.
It’s all of this that led to Amanda Hess becoming the inadvertent Lisa Lampanelli of online journalism. But it also led to a proof of integrity for TBD — an accountability for mistakes that its chief old-school competitor, The Washington Post, has failed time and time again to show. The next time it offers a report, certainly, some people will dismiss it. But many more, and the more reasonable people, will know that the info they get will be right — and if not, it will be swiftly corrected.
Now, TBD.com probably has a loose and understaffed copy-editing element. But it clearly values editing, even if its approach toward it is miles from traditional. How to respond? My position is, restated from earlier posts, this: TBD will have to consider how to fit editing into its digital reality, and copy editors and editors of all stripes must adapt and demonstrate that their value isn’t pigeonholed, but more important than ever.
Image credit: allenp